Observation Blog Post 2

For my observation task I decided to choose one of my favourite places I visit, Leichhardt Oval. For anyone who has been to this ‘hallowed turf’ you will know that it is a space that could do with a massive design overhaul, but at the same time you just have to love the nostalgia it provides.


For starters, one will observe that there is very little parking available for the public. We usually walk almost 2km to the game as the closest public car park design is terrible. Once there, you have to try to fight your way through one of few gates that are open, complete with security bag checks. Right inside is the merchandise stand, so congestion builds quite quickly as people stop to shop.

Within the grounds there is very little undercover seating. Our ‘gold members’ seats are out in the elements so if it’s raining the ponchos provided to members definitely come in handy. Our seats are fold-up plastic seats on cold concrete with little room. Many a time I’ve nearly poked someone’s eye out with a madly waving Tigers flag.

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Finding food and using the amenities is another challenge that suffers due to poor design. The female toilets are one end of grandstand and the food stands are at the other. There is also little room to move along the back of the seating, especially when coffee carts have been placed there so they are out of the weather!

Although Leichhardt Oval could use a facelift, the memories that the venue holds go back into the pages of history. Any design changes that may be implemented would need to be done so delicately to ensure that the history is maintained.


5 thoughts on “Observation Blog Post 2

  1. dollsshoes@yahoo.com

    Hi Kelly,
    I’ve never actually been to the football but I have been to other venues like the one you have described. I would have been interested to hear about the reactions of people around you and what the actual atmosphere of the place was like. It’s amazing how much people are willing to put up with to attend such an event and I can imagine that, much like seeing a band, it’s almost like a religious experience. All the focus is on the entertainers and little thought given to the comfort of the spectators. It’s the same with the tennis – why are the seats so hard and everything so difficult to get to?

    Here is an article – Spectators and Spectator Comfort in Roman Entertainment Buildings: A Study in Functional Design – which asks exactly these questions in regard to Roman spectator experience. I know its a bit out there but what better way to consider this kind of space than by reflecting on the fathers of spectator entertainment ? : )



  2. Hi Kelly. I love this post. Not only does it show your love of your team, but also the appreciation of the nostalgia of Leichardt Oval. I have spent a few Sunday afternoons there with my Dad and sister, and I can imagine it hasn’t changed much in 30 years!
    I suppose the challenge in redesigning the oval and it’s facilities would lie in maintaining some of those features that make it a place of fond memories, passionate supporters and great games of football. Therefore, understanding the users “emotional experience” (Brown, 2009, p. 4) has to be taken in to account when considering redesigning something like Leichardt Oval. Brown (2009) also goes on to suggest that the designer would have to feel what the fans and players (the users) feel. Big call. It’s not like you can start to bleed those colours overnight. It’s more a way of life, isn’t it?
    Thanks, Kel. Great read and great photos of you in the “gold members” section. Are those rain ponchos part of the package?


    Brown, T. (2009) Change by design: How design thinking transforms organizations and inspires innovation. Summary by Get Abstract. Retrieved from: http://www.getabstract.com

  3. ejhinchliffe@gmail.com

    I can empathise with this experience as it is very similar to that of attending AFL games at the MCG where there is also limited parking, especially when it is wet. It makes me wonder if the limited parking has been intentionally designed to reduce traffic congestion around stadiums and encourage the use of public transport to events where alcohol is likely to be consumed?
    The distance between the rows of seats is also uncomfortable at the MCG, as in most stands you have to stand up to allow people enough space to walk past you to their seats. It would be interesting to go to a more recently constructed stadium and see if they have noticed this issue and made the row spacings wider. However, it all comes back to the intentions of the designers and how the have balanced viability, feasibility and desirability (Kuratko, Goldsworthy and Hornsby, 2012). Is it more economically viable to construct a stadium that can fit more people less comfortably or less people more comfortably?

    Kuratko, D., Goldsworthy, M., & Hornsby, G. (2012). The design-thinking process in innovation acceleration: Transforming organizational thinking. (pp.103-123). Boston: Pearson

  4. bradmurphy73@ozemail.com.au

    Hi Kelly

    Go the eels, oops I mean tigers 😉

    I enjoyed reading your post and reminded me of some of the issues with Parramatta Stadium, though some distinct differences too.

    You certainly have the ethnographic research in the bag considering it is a place you are a regular user of. You have shown empathy in your research showing insights to the target users (McDonagh & Thomas, 2010) where it important to make the starting point to observe the actual experience (Brown & Katz, 2011). It would be interesting to take it a step further and see what it might be like for a wheel chair bound user for example as shown by Paul Bennett from IDEO on ‘Design is in the details’. In order to redesign Leichhardt Oval there is a need to look to the margins of the extreme users hopefully meaning redesign makes them extreme users no longer.

    I really liked how you considered the need for change while acknowledging the need to respect the history of the place.

    Hope the fortunes of the Tigers improve this season, as is needed for the Eels too. At least your team has won a premiership this side of 30 years! 😉

    Brown, T., & Katz, B. (2011). Change by Design. J PROD INNOV MANAG, (28), 381-383.

    Mcdonagh, D. (2010). Rethinking Design Thinking: Empathy Supporting Innovation. Amj Australasian Medical Journal, 458-464.

    Design is in the details. (n.d.). Retrieved August 9, 2015, from https://www.ted.com/talks/paul_bennett_finds_design_in_the_details?language=en

  5. kmalbon@internode.on.net

    Hi Kelly
    I was attracted to your post as I am a Western Bulldogs AFL supporter who goes to Etihad Stadium in Melbourne often. I almost chose it for my blog post but the timing of the game wasn’t convenient. Women’s toilets at football grounds are something I notice. When Etihad Stadium was built and the MCG was redeveloped (within the last 15 years) additional women’s toilets were a feature. I remember reading newspaper articles at the time promising women better facilities.
    Your diagram clearly shows that the women’s toilets are in a remote part of the stadium while the men’s toilets are situated close to the bar, food and merchandise stand. Without knowing the history of Leichardt Oval, I would suggest women were not considered an end user at the time the oval was built, instead the design met the needs of the mostly male crowd at the game. Brown believes “a successful design outcome exists at the intersection of three concerns: what is desirable from the user’s perspective, what is technically feasible, and what is commercially viable for the organization” (Kimbell, 2011, p. 12). Perhaps these are the tensions Leichardt Oval has to consider in deciding whether to upgrade their stadium.

    Kimbell, L. (2012). Rethinking design thinking: Part 1. Design and Culture, 3(3), 285-306. Retrieved from http://www.lucykimbell.com/stuff/DesignPractices_Kimbell_DC_final_public.pdf

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